Using InDesign to Publish Your iPad Magazine

Adobe just took the wraps off the long-awaited Digital Publishing Suite that powers the Wired magazine and The New Yorker iPad apps. With InDesign CS5 at the core, you can now author your layouts, including interactive content, and export it out in the new .issue format.

1 CREATE A NEW WEB DOCUMENT
From there you can preview your content on the iPad using the free Adobe Digital Content Preview Tool. If you want to monetize your content then you could check Adobe’s hosted solutions. For the purpose of this tutorial, however, we’ll walk you through the steps to build your digital issue. In order to do this tutorial you’ll need to download and install the Digital Publishing Suite components from http://labs.adobe.com. Since we’re targeting the iPad, we need to create a document that’s the right size. Go to the File>New>Document menu and choose Web for the Intent, 1024×768 for Page Size, and click the Portrait icon for Orientation.

2 CREATE YOUR COVER
Typically, we design longer documents in multiple InDesign files for ease of collaboration, and we’re going to follow that same procedure here even if we’re the only ones laying out this publication. Each section or article of your digital publication is called a stack, and each stack is a separate InDesign document. Our first stack will be the cover. You can design the cover anyway that you like using standard InDesign techniques for image placement and fonts. Save it with whatever name you want but make sure the name ends in “_v.indd” (e.g., “cover_v.indd”).

3 CREATE A WIDE VERSION
If you want your readers to be able to view your publication horizontally, then you’ll need to actually build the horizontal version of each stack as a separate InDesign document. After you create and save your vertical cover in Step 2, go to File>Save As and name the file the same except end the name with “_h.indd” (e.g., “cover_h.indd”). Now go to Layout>Layout Adjustment, turn on Enable Layout Adjustment, and click OK. Then, go to File>Document Setup and change the Orientation to Landscape. Layout Adjustment does the best that it can to keep the layout intact, but you may need to tweak a few things to get it to look perfect.

4 CREATE YOUR SECOND STACK
At this point you would create new InDesign documents for the subsequent stacks in your publication. You’ll need both vertical and horizontal versions of each document. The stacks themselves can be multiple pages, such as longer articles.

5 SET UP YOUR FOLDER STRUCTURE
In order for the Bundler to successfully import your stacks and bundle them together, you have to create a very specific folder structure for your InDesign files. The easiest is to have one main folder for each issue. Inside that folder, include a subfolder for each article. Inside the article folder, include subfolders for both the vertical and horizontal versions of the file. Each of these subfolders will contain the InDesign file, link folder, document font folder, etc. for that stack. In the example here, the main magazine folder is called Meridien_Issue, which contains a folder for an article on WiFi. The WiFi folder contains the subfolders for both the horizontal and vertical versions of the InDesign file.

6 WORKING WITH INTERACTIVE CONTENT
If you want to go beyond standard text and graphics, you can have two types of interactive content. You can use the standard navigation elements in InDesign, such as buttons, or you can use the Adobe Interactive Overlay Creator to create additional content such as panoramas, 360° views, audio, video, image pans, etc. Launch the Adobe Interactive Overlay Creator that you downloaded and installed from Adobe Labs.

7 INSERT AN INTERACTIVE VIDEO
In order to place a video in your digital publication for the iPad, your video will need to be an MP4 with H.264 encoding. Place your video in a folder called “OverlayResources” in the stack subfolder that you wish to use the video in. Switch to the Video tab of the Interactive Overlay Creator and click the Browse button next to the URL field. Find your video and click Select. Enter the Width and Height of your video in pixels. If you want your video to play full screen, enable the Play Full Screen checkbox. Click Export after you make your setting choices, and save it to the same folder.

8 PLACE YOUR INTERACTIVE VIDEO
Now go back to the InDesign document in which you want to place the SWF version of your video that you exported in Step 7. Go to File>Place, navigate to the SWF file, click the Open button, and click on your document where you want your video.

9 CHOOSE A CUSTOM POSTER FRAME
At this point we want our readers to be able to see an image for the video. Although you can choose a frame from the video to use as the poster frame, it’s probably best to design an image that lets the reader know that it’s a video (we’re using an image that has a play icon on it). While your video is selected, bring up the Media panel (Window>Interactive>Media). In the Media panel, select Choose Image from the Poster drop-down menu, navigate to the image that you designed to be the poster frame, and click Open.

10 CREATE A TOC THUMBNAIL
In order to bundle the issue and for your table of contents to function, each stack must have a TOC thumbnail. This thumbnail has to be a 70×70 pixel PNG file and saved in the root level of each stack folder. You can use a screen capture of a section of the page or anything you design using Photoshop. With your image open in Photoshop, go to File>Save for Web & Devices. Select PNG-24 in the Preset drop-down menu at the top-right, and set the width and height to 70×70 pixels in the Image Size section. Click Save, navigate to the appropriate stack folder, select Images Only from the Format drop-down menu, and click the Save button.

11 CREATE A BUNDLE
After you’ve created all your stacks and interactive content, it’s time to open your issue in the Adobe Digital Content Bundler that you downloaded from Adobe Labs. Click the New button and point to your main issue folder without actually going inside of it and click the Select button. Once your issue has been imported, you’ll need to add in the appropriate title information. You can also rearrange the order of the stacks so that they are in the order of the actual publication.

12 EXPORT YOUR .ISSUE FILE
Once you have your issue details inserted, you can now click the Export Issue button to export out your .issue file to a folder of your choice. Be sure to change the Issue option to Single File in the Export Options dialog.

13 SYNC YOUR .ISSUE FILE TO YOUR iPAD
In order to view your .issue file on your iPad, you’ll need to install the free Adobe Digital Content Preview Tool for iPad on your device. You can get this from the Apple App Store. Once you have it installed, plug in your iPad via the USB cable and launch iTunes. Click on the Apps tab and click on Adobe Preview. Now you can click the Add button, locate your .issue file, and sync it directly to your iPad.

14 PREVIEW YOUR NEW DIGITAL PUBLICATION
At this point you can now launch the Adobe Digital Content Preview Tool app on your iPad and your issue should be there to view. This will allow you to view and test all of your stacks and interactivity.

ALL IMAGES BY TERRY WHITE UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED

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  3. George (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    Thanks Terry for the very clear tutorial!

    Just one question: your tutorial ends with previewing the issue on Adobe Digital Content Preview Tool app … but how about after that? How does the issue become an app?

    Sorry if this is a silly question, but the title of the article is how to publish your mag, not preview it ;)

    Best,
    George

  4. Dean (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    I second George’s comment above. I’ve worked through the beta version of the software. Previewed my own app. But now what? Others have published. How?

    • Scott (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

      Dean, have you found out anything more about publishing to the app store?

  5. [...] Layers Magazine hat einen Beitrag vom “Worldwide Creative Suite Design Evangelist for Adobe Systems” Terry Stone [...]

  6. Chris Gregory (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    A good “amuse-bouche” to the process. Step 10 is however optional, as if you dont include a PNG file in a stack, the TOC image will be generated automatically during the bundling process.

  7. Florin Vasile (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    Hi there. Very nice tutorial. Can you help as with additional info? Like scrolling text?
    Thanks

  8. Teresa (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    Brillant tutorial

  9. Canvai (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    Hi,
    posted a question and I think it disappeared. For .folio publishing, if we want to publish to diferent tablet resolutions, does that require a rebuild of the entire issue as well?

    thanks

    • BrianDavid (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

      Yes it does – unless you let the device do an auto-scale, in which case you could end up with black bars resembling the letterbox you see on some DVDs.

  10. janet (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    so, any word on if we can sell these in ipad app store after pubication?

    • BrianDavid (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

      Yes you can.

      • BrianDavid (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

        You need to purchase a Digital Publishing license from Adobe first.

  11. Summer (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    Can someone tell me where to download “Adobe Digital Content Bundler”? I can’t find it from Adobe Labs…

  12. Ted (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    where can i download the adobe digital content bundler,,, i didnt intall with my installation of cs5.5

  13. Kerstin (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    Can’t find “Digital Content Bundler” or “Interactive Overlay creator” in Adobe Labs… have they been removed?

  14. MHD (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    HOW CAN I EXPORT FROM INDESIGNE TO IPAD OR GALAXY. WHEN I EXPORT PDF(INTERACTIVE) FORMAT I CAN NOT SEE SOME BUTTONS AND SOME ACTIVITIS? WHAT SHOULD I DO?

  15. Manish Rai (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    is there any method to add animation in digital publication, animation will bring more interactivity, since i am new to this can you tell me whether we require any plugging to view indesign publications just as flash.

    • BrianDavid (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

      This has nothing to do with Flash whatsoever. There is no plugin to convert to flash.
      You can do some basic animations using HTML/5.

  16. Doug (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    This is the dumbest tutorial I have ever seen. What is the point of making a magazine if you can only load it for an audience of one? Someone needs to create a third party container for the app store for indesign iPad magazines. The desktop publishing revolution would have never happened with the application maker controlling the distribution like Adobe is trying to do here. They are stifling innovation and creative publications for the iPad, though they think they are doing the opposite.

    • BrianDavid (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

      Adobe wants their extremely large portion of the pie, and the big magazine publishers want to make sure this new digital publishing “revolution” stays out of the hands of common people.

      Look into what Adobe is charging for the digital publishing service. At last time I checked, it was nearly $6,000 a year for the subscription!

  17. jen_cam (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    Do I need CS5/CS5.5 in order to utilize InDesign for publishing to an iPad or any tablet/mobile device? I only have CS4 in my workplace (seeing as how they will not upgrade to Win7 – frustrating).

    • BrianDavid (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

      CS5 is the lowest version that working with Digital Publishing.

  18. BrianDavid (Reply) on Monday March 14, 2011

    To publish your magazine – you have to contact Adobe for a license to publish using their servers – which store & serve up the content you create. You then need a dev license from Apple and Google to add your “app” to their stores for people to download.

    Good luck with that – it’s not cheep!



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